In "Birds," former Rainer Maria singer Caithlin De Marrais looks back in hard-won triumph.
In "Birds," former Rainer Maria singer Caithlin De Marrais looks back in hard-won triumph. Spencer Heyfron
Artist: Caithlin De Marrais
CD: Red Coats
There's a wonderful pop economy to "Birds." Pretty and textured with a nervy, clattering, percussive undercurrent, it somewhat recalls De Marrais' old band Rainer Maria. Yet where that band would generally lean into the tension, De Marrais accents resolution, both musically and thematically.
"Birds" begins from a beautiful place of rest, with cherubic strings swelling, a brushed harp stroke and a bit of sweet, gorgeous orchestral bloom. As it recedes, the bass line picks up the melody, driving though suggestive plumes of ringing guitar toward De Marrais' husky vocals. Her fitting first words are "new sun." At least that's the first impression, until she completes the line: "in my arms." The entire song functions as a celebratory ode to a journey — an elliptical flashback to darker times, with past pathos brightened by the frame of a new day. "I waited for a tender kiss, wandered through a wilderness, fought back tears of loneliness," she sings, adding, "never thought I could."
It's this last sentiment, repeated several times, which drives "Birds." It's an affirmation of humanity's resilience and power, swathed in dreamy guitars as De Marrais peers back through the looking glass to when life seemed impossible and confusing. "Gone are the days, excuses I made, when I wasn't good enough," De Marrais sings, as the song draws to a close with a poetic image: "Look up at the birds / they're making me laugh / making me cry some." At which point she closes with a short and simple mission statement: "Look up."